It’s hard to attend meeting after meeting, appointment after appointment with a child who has extra needs. It is painful hearing diagnosis or prognosis from professionals who only see your child for short periods of times. Yet one of the most upsetting things of all for me as a special needs parent is receiving written reports about my child that are inaccurate, poorly written, or worse still, contain information relating to someone else’s child rather than my own!
It is unprofessional, inexcusable and very damaging to receive a report from any professional that is inaccurate.
These reports are often circulated to everyone working with your child and, even if amended, often the lies are hard to undo.
As a result of an inaccurate report on my son he was once given a school placement that was total inappropriate for him. The stress this caused us and the cost to the local authority to rectify this mistake is impossible to measure. In this incidence it was vital medical information that was omitted from a report, without which my son’s medical care was in severe jeopardy.
As a result of missing information we are currently in battle with the local authority again, this time in relation to school transport.
It is not just missing information that is an issue either. On one occasion I received a report about my son from a therapist which spoke about his ability to name different makes of cars and how he appeared to be doing well in a mainstream setting yet my child is non verbal in a complex needs school! We were sent someone’s else’s report but with my son’s name and date of birth! It was like rubbing salt in a raw wound to read that and I cried. What the department called ‘an innocent mistake’ left me terrified to open any more reports from the same department for months.
Then I have reports that state ‘mum said’ in a way that implies I have lied. These too often state things I know for a fact I never said or have been taken completely out of context. It can appear that the author of the report had an agenda and is willing to use anything said to prove their bias opinion. In matters like this it is their word against mine as to what actually occurred at the appointment or meeting as I have yet to be at such an event where matters are openly recorded. It is not the first time I have read a report on my child thinking I was actually reading a fiction story.
Then I had a report recently that stated my daughter had a diagnosis that shocked me. It shocked me because not only did her symptoms not even match the diagnosis listed but in fact every medical professional who had ever seen her had failed to mention this new diagnosis and it was the first our social worker and my daughter’s head teacher had heard of it either. When I inquired about the report I eventually found out the minute taker had just ASSUMED this was something my child had despite her only qualification being that of knowing shorthand!! This was over three months ago and yet not one person who attended the meeting that day has received an amended report! This so called ‘new diagnosis’ (in fact non existent!) could seriously affect my daughters health care and education yet it is glossed over as ‘human error’.
Some reports on my children are very well done. They are professionally written, accurate, include all relevant information, and are sent out in a timely manner like they should be.
Unfortunately other reports make a complete mockery of the health system and meetings. The fact is doctors and lead professionals rarely write their own reports now and while this may seem cost effective it is far from it when reports are clearly inaccurate and require amended and resent.
I have felt violated reading lies, angry reading about another child, and physically sick reading about made up diagnosis my child does not have.
We HAVE to get it right for every child and that includes written reports.